Entries in Songwriting (5)


First page of Loose!  (loosely)

So it's 1am, and instead of having a burst of inspiration for Arianna (may she chill in peace), I wrote the first pages of LOOSE.  Check it out, see if you're interested, because, well, I am!

(obviously this is an uber rough draft, but I like the voice so far).  Maggie is the protagonist, a 17 year old that just finished her senior year in high school.  It's all about first person for this one!


I’m pretty sure that I don’t know anything.  I don’t know why I’ve never had a boyfriend (waah) and I don’t know why the hell my mother took us on this trip.  I don’t know what to study when I start at Brown in the fall, and worst of all, I don’t know what my sister is hiding from me, but I’ll tell you something: I’m going to find out.

And I’ve got two thousand, nine hundred and thirty four miles, 11 cities, and 34 days to do it.  Oh, and don’t forget the hunkajunk we refer to as the Jeep.  That is an integral part of the whole road trip experience.

I suppose I should explain a bit better.  In an effort not to tear my own eyeballs out and simultaneously see if journalism is the career I’m interested in, I’m going to chronicle this whole bizarre process.  Right now I’m writing in the cramped bathroom stall of what kind of looks like a trailer full of portable toilets—not in like the portapotty sense, but like someone just ripped out the bathroom from the Cheesecake Factory and stuck it on a trailer.  Except these stalls are tiny.

They’re also the only place in this whole venue that has any light at the moment, or at least the kind of light that doesn’t require a warning sign for epileptics.  I always feel bad for epileptics; like if a light jumps out at you, are you going to have an attack?  What’s that like, being kind of helpless to your environment?

Note: maybe I should look into neuroscience for a major.

I’ve been to the Bank of America Pavilion once before.  It’s in Boston, illogically far away from any T stop, but then again, I’m from Weymouth (so south it’s not even called “Greater Boston”, despite the fact that we like to pretend we’re not a suburb), so I’m more of a car than a subway girl, anyway.  It was for a Savage Garden concert when I was like fourteen.  All I remember is some crazy lighting effect that made them seem fifty feet tall.  And walking a lot to get there.

Now it’s just weird being here.  Twin and Mom are back at the seats, and they both seem to think this little adventure will be the best thing ever.  Mom’s taking a month off work, and we’re following Loose around on the first half of their tour.

All I know from them is that “Talented, Wild and Young” song, which rocked of course, but it was like three years ago.  Bailey bought their new CD and so I’ve heard it when she plays it, but I haven’t really listened to it.  It was between this and whatever Vegas act they let out on tour that Mom would have chosen, given the chance, so I jumped on it.

Especially since Twin is hiding something.  Twin=Bailey, btdubs.  They are one and the same.  Or is the phrase “one in the same”?  I’m never sure.  People say it really fast.  Anyway, Twin and I may not be identical, but we’re on the same wavelength.  I don’t have any other siblings, just Twin, and she and I get each other in both the born-at-the-same-time way and in the BFFs way.  And something is definitely up.

First off, she jumped at the chance to go on this little bonding fest, which isn’t really like her.  She plans.  She’s going to be pre-med, then go to med school, and become a trauma surgeon, which is of course exactly what she should do.  She’s got that clarity that no one else I know has.  She’s just so sure of herself.  She planned to relax this summer, keep in shape to go out for swim team in college, and get started on her first year reading.  She plans.

She’s not a dork or anything.  I mean, she’s had three boyfriends and is way more popular than I am.  She’s just so confident that everyone’s kind of in awe of her.  Including me.  If I weren’t her twin I wouldn’t know what to make of her at all.  She just didn’t want Mark to be an issue for college, so she broke up with him at grad and was going to have her summer to herself—with me, of course.

And she broke her plans.  And she’s been weird about spending time with me.  Bail never hides stuff from me because for the most part she can’t be bothered.  She tells it straight, so who needs to hide things?

But she’s hiding something, and I will figure out what it is.

They’re cheering, I guess I should go back.  Plus, it’s smelling a little rank in here.

Link Love

I'm grumpy today, so instead of using my blog as a bitchfest platform (as per usual), I'm going to post some links to stuff I've read around the web recently that I really liked.

Commit to Being a Success: Aside from being written by one of my fave bloggers, Nacie Carson, it's url also reads http://www.thelifeuncommon.net....commit-success/, which when I went to copy paste made me giggle, because it's like committing murder, except you're committing success.  Which I kind of love, actually.

PubRants also had two really good posts this week for newbie/aspiring writers about advances and earning out that advance.  It's always helpful when agents talk about this, for which she gets link love.

I thought EdAss' bestseller poll was interesting, and even more interesting to me because of them, I've only bought and read (and also bought OR read) Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code.

I liked this article about Writing Choruses for my on-going songwriter research (believe it or not I have six songs that are at least on paper; I can't really speak to their quality).

On a grumpy tangent, I think I'm putting down Arianna again.  Now, every time I threaten this, I whip out like 3500 words that night, so maybe I'll be eating my words come morning, but something isn't working with this girl and I think it's limping along a bit.  I just want to see other novels, Arianna.  Like possibly starting a first draft of Loose.

Oh, I also liked this suitably snarky post from Editorial Anonymous (which really appealed to me in my grumpiness).

And don't forget the whole reason I'm grumpy, which is over here.

And on a note that is unrelated to anything I should be blogging about, like books and writing, why the hell is Khloe Kardashian marrying this dude?  Did she not just say on the last episode of Kourt and Khloe Take Miami that she didn't trust guys, especially basketballers, and had a really tough time trusting the really sweet overtures of bestie Omarion?  What the hell, Khloe?  You may be having a crisis because big sis is having a baby, but wedding bells won't solve anything.  You've known him LESS THAN A MONTH!!!

Sheesh.  And I previously thought Khloe was the only normal Kardashian.

Creativity and Stress

What a day!  So I'm going a little bananas because both of my major freelancing jobs have deadlines coming up and they need more time rather than less, which is good--right?  Maybe!  I'm still not resolved about my money and time issues, and I'm wondering if one of my freelancing jobs isn't worth the time I spend on it, which is sad because I enjoy the work.  I don't know, it's all up in the air.

And complicating the matter is the fact that I've never felt more inspired on my various projects.  Seriously!  I just had the best meeting talking about songwriting and inspiration is just like sparking through my head, and I literally just want to take a week and read some books to get in the groove, and then just get in the zone and write lyrics and novels.

It makes me think that this is why people quit--not because they give up on their dreams, but because it's like spinning a toilet paper roll and then covering where the paper comes out so the whole thing balls up and tangles and twists.  If you don't let the inspiration out steadily, it seems like the whole system might just get jammed up and freeze.

Not loving it.

Especially since due to volume of work currently, my Saturday writing day is cancelled.

Really world?  Come on.


Worry and Songs

Since I've been back from Philadelphia, it's been a weird few days.  There's been a lot of personal drama going on, and more than distracting, it's kind of exhausting.  As there is a lot more personal drama coming up (starting with a family member's surgery coming up, and followed by some very personal drama), this doesn't bode well for the future.

Besides that, my brother is gone from the house and cooler weather has set in, which means my productivity (when I'm not distracted by other things) is through the roof.  Sweetness.

I'm also uncharacteristically worried.  The DIARY manuscript is with two, seemingly very interested agents at the moment; they've both been really positive so far, and they both had to wait a little bit for it and are still interested, which I'll take as a good sign.

But I've also never felt so worried.  I haven't had the best string of luck lately, and I'm scared to death that this just won't happen.  The problem is that it takes so very long to build up, months to years, and then, in one swift email, it's all over and I'm out of luck.

Could it happen again?  Could both of these agents pass?  Yes.  Absolutely.

The real rub is that there aren't many other agents on my list.  And beyond that, one of the agents that has it is one that I REALLY want to represent it.  One that I've been submitting to for a WHILE.  I guess it's just that with every rejection, the field of possibilities narrows a little, the stakes get a little higher, and it's been a long time now.

We'll just set that aside, though.  When we were down in Philadelphia I wrote another song, and I think I really like this one; of course, the trouble with songwriting is that to get a decent emotion/imagery/theme down, I'm having a hard time faking it.  The most personal thing in this novel might just been the song lyrics of the fake band.

But, that's writing for you.

Songwriting and Me

So, I'm sort of wading my way through songwriting and a wealth of information on the web, but today, in writing an article about New Students at Berklee for TownMe, I stumbled across some new song writing information, and I'm trying think out loud a little here as well as iron out a process.

Interestingly, this isn't so far off from what I was talking about yesterday with my thesis work; to write that, I had to adapt the art of the short story to my style, something I was wholly unfamiliar with.  I researched, I mimicked, and though I ultimately decided it didn't have my heart, I enjoyed it very much.  So here we go again with songwriting.  Writers will always be called upon to expand their craft; it can be the most exciting and compelling time in your development. So here's me, thrilled and delighted to learn.

My mental process so far:

Poetry = Lyrics

Lyrics + Melody = Songs

Songs =  What I Need.

The difficulty is, of course, that I'm no good at poetry.  But I won't let that stop me.

What I know about poetry:

  • Exceptionally image heavy

  • Each word should be super important; there's no such thing as a red herring in poetry

  • You can tell a really powerful story in a short format

  • A novel looks like a long, horizontal line (-----------); it covers a length of time covering at least several moments in time, strung together like a necklace.  A poem, however, and it would seem that most good songs, are vertical ( | ).  They take one moment and blow it up until it's expanded into a billion luminescent fractures.

  • However, a collection of poetry (or an album of songs) can be like a story arc, like a novel, like a whole constellation of moments

The blog above recommends keeping something like an image journal, which I found to be a really cool idea and will probably be employing it on the way down to Philadelphia to drop the LB at school.   She also wrote this really good post about chorus writing that addresses the need for it to be a "big idea" that ties the whole thing together.  I'm on the road today, so hopefully I'll be trying all this out!